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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

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10                                        FLOKA  INDTCA.
fear to be censured tor stating truisms,, did not the annals of
natural science present too""many instances of the reckless-
ness with which genera, orders, and even so-called natural
systems-, have been "instituted by tyros without the smallest
practical acquaintance wiih structure and affinities. We do
not refer merely to the vagaries of a Bafinesque, a Bowditeh,
or a Blanco, though a botanist so eminent as Endlicher haa
thought it necessary to encumber his pages with characters of
genera which must remain for ever enigmatical, unless som**
happy chance should make us acquainted with the specimens
of the authors; we have in view more well-meaning persons,
who have the progress of-science at heart, but who, by defec-
tive definitions and erroneous classification, crowd our books
with imperfectly defined genera and with groups and subdi-
visions of no practical value. A knowledge of the relative
importance of characters can only be acquired by long study j
and without a due appreciation of their value, no natural group
can be defined. Hence many of the .new genera which are
daily added to our lists rest upon trivial characters, and have
no equality with those already in existence. A pronencs« to
imitation leads to a gradual increase in, their numbers, with-
out a ^rresponding increase of sectional groups. Indeed,
even wnen the sectional groups are well defined, and the ge-
nera in themselves natural, a too great increase in the number
of genera is detrimental, by keeping out of view those higher
divisions which are of greater Importance. The modern, system
of elevating every minor group, however lifting the characters
by which it is distinguished, to the rank of a genus, evinces,
we think, a want of appreciation of the true value of classifica-
tion. The genus is the group which, in consequence of our ays-
tern of nomenclature, is kept most prominently before tl ,e mind,
and which has therefore most importance attached to it*.
* We may make our meaning more dear by a few examples* The gernua
tficus is surely mow natural than the subgonera P0y07w>to>pAe, CarHsllixt, Uro*
*ti$ma, into wbfch it haa been subdivided. So with tho genera, Ax*m<m*> &*•
fyotis, Erica, Andromeda, and others which hare been split into many by
modem botanists. Mr. Brown has, in all his worke; laboured to keep thv